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Will Robots Cheer Up the Elderly?

chrisd posted more than 12 years ago | from the rhetorical-question dept.

Hardware 216

Drath writes "Researchers at Purdue University are conducting a study by placing Sony Aibo robots in a Lafayette, IN nursing home. They want to see if robots can make people happy. Lets hope they have robot insurance." Makes you wonder if the AARP will have a position paper on this. Hope when I get old(er) I'll have gold plated killer robots around for my entertainment. pycananthemum also was kind enough sent in a link to the Project page.

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216 comments

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Jiste... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322014)

zatje kaffie !

Poor Elderly (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322017)

If their only company is C-3PO it's going to a lot worse for them, not better ....

Moderation - a warning from history (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322019)

Visitors to the website slashdot.org [slashdot.org] will by now have surely heard of the act of Moderation. This is where a contributor's post can be 'Moderated' either positively or negatively, depending on how the Moderator perceives the value of the post. There is a sliding scale of total moderation points, from -1 to 5, along with snappy summaries of the reason for moderation, such as "Funny", "Insightful", or the ever popular "Troll". An additional benefit offered to Moderators is the ability to ban a poster from contributing, by negatively moderating enough of his postings in a 24 hour period.

In order to retain some level of fairness for the Slashdot population, the Slashdot Editors (adopting the role of 'Benevolent Dictators') have implemented a scheme whereby regular users of Slashdot, chosen essentially at random, are given the ability to act as Moderators.

This underlines an inherent flaw in the system. Psychological studies have shown that in any community, no matter how small, should a random sampling of people be given the slightest grasp of power, they will immediately abuse it. There is a primal, evolutionary desire in Man to place himself higher than his peers by whatever measurement they can muster. Slashdot Moderation provides the ideal means for which a man can prove himself more equal than others.

At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law at such an early point in my thesis, I have no choice but to compare Slashdot Moderation to the systematic genocide of the Jewish community in 1930's Germany.

A bold statement, I admit, and deliberately designed to shock, but I feel the statement is necessary. I shall now offer a more rational explanation, as well as a comparison of the parallels between Slashdot Culture, and the National Socialist regime.

First, some history. National Socialism did not spring up overnight. It grew from a feeling of national bitterness and resentment at the war reparations Germany was forced to make after World War One. Germany was a broken country, populated by desperate starving people. And to the desperate, an extreme ideology begins to seem like a rational choice.

The advent of new technology forces a paradigm shift in the way the beholders of that technology think. The Christianity Meme was made wide spread by the invention of the Gutenberg press. And the rise of National Socialism was made popular because of the invention of Cinema. Here we had a new means to control the flow of information to the populace, that they are willing to unquestioningly listen to due to the 'novelty factor' of moving pictures. It is no coincidence that some of the best Cinematography of the early 20th Century came out of the National Socialist propaganda machine.

Why is this the case? It is yet another fault of man that a new means of distributing memes is perceived, due to the 'newness' of the medium, to have a greater 'validity' than older media. Those harnessing new inventions have the power to win control of the hearts and minds of others.

With the tools in place, who should the National Socialists target? Clearly, as a counterpoint to Man's desire to hold power over others, there is also a desire to resent the success of others. If someone is successful, they reduce the self-worth of their beholders. Although times were harsh in Germany in the prelude to World War II, there were still successful inhabitants of that country. Possessing shrewd business acumen as well as the contacts in other countries needed to maintain support in such a poverty stricken and broken land, who else should deserve the wrath of the populace more than the Jews?

Fast-forward to the latter quarter of the 20th Century. Computing technology is focused in niche markets, and limited to big successful companies like IBM and Microsoft. As the markets were limited, there were also limited opportunities for employment. This gave rise to a rising number of college dropouts, seething with resentment and unable to relate to society beyond the staccato clatter of keyboards and the pallid green glow of an 80x24 text display, and lacking the basic business skills (and a smart suit) needed to secure employment at one of these companies.

At this time, a new invention was beginning to take hold in College campuses throughout the world. The Internet. As with the Gutenberg press and Cinema beforehand, this new technology would grow to spread one of the most virulent memes of the modern age - Open Source Software, created as the antithesis of successful business practise.

So, the parallels between the birth of Anti-Semetic National Socialism and the birth of Open Source Software have been made. Of course, it is easy to claim that A=B without providing further logical evidence in support. So, the next task of my thesis is to provide further parallels, and bring this discourse back to the initial focus on Slashdot Moderation.

Slashdot was conceived, in it's original 'Chips 'n' Dips' incarnation, as a vehemently anti-corporate Open Source website. Roughly 10-15 years down the line from the birth of Open Source, it has become saturated with propaganda, and now forms the centrepiece of the Open Source Development Network. An authority in it's field, Slashdot's success is in no small part due to the ability of the editors to 'pick and choose' valid news articles submitted by users, and present the same old tired "Open Source Good / Closed Source Bad" rhetoric time and time again, dabbling with anti-copyright and the right of the 'common man' to remove an artist's ability to gain compensation for the work. In essence, this is similar to the 'paring down' of artistic worth in 1930's Germany. If no-one is willing to contribute valid and vibrant art to the community, then all art shall become harsh and functional, possessing a certain intimidating aesthetic.

Which leads onto Open Source's shining achievement - Linux. This diatribe is not aimed towards Linux in particular, as it is a well-oiled, well-tuned machine. A technically adept Operating System, it is worthy of admiration by any rational man. The point of this thesis is not to attack the art produced by Open Source coders, which in itself is worthy, but to enlighten all as to the political processes behind the OSS movement.

By the same scale, it is hard to fault Mercedes for the technical excellence of the vehicles which were used by the National Socialist party. But the politics behind the party are what taint the image of Mercedes' vehicles of the era. The Swastika itself is a benign symbol, found this day in such diverse locations as Pokemon cards, but is permanently tainted with the history of the acts made under its auspice. In the same way, companies switching to Open Source solutions will begin to regard the Penguin with the same trepidation as their profits fall.

It should be worth noting at this point that IBM, previously one of the world's greatest companies, has begun reporting servere financial losses, no doubt due to its adoption of Open Source practises. This epoch-making event was NOT reported on Slashdot, even though articles were submitted.

And what of the other great company mentioned above? Microsoft, aka Micro$oft, Mickeysoft, Microshaft, Kro$oft, and many other derogatory and undeserved names. Throughout the previous 25 years, Microsoft has grown from strength to strength, again possessing shrewd business acumen as well as providing products that people want. This makes them the number one target for the OSS movement. Incapable of standing by their own merits, the OSS zealot would rather attack Microsoft as a priority than produce anything of worth for their community.

Slashdot Moderators, crazed with their limited new-found power, exhibit this behavior. It is a sad state of affairs that the majority of article moderations are negative. Where is the positive feedback and sense of social contribution? Nowhere to be found. Moderators are too focused on putting their peers down to make themselves appear superior, rather than doing the hard work and becoming better on their own terms.

As the National Socialists required a scapegoat, Slashdot Moderators require a constant stream of Postings to label '-1, Inferior'. Once a posting is reduced to the score of -1, it becomes invisible to the casual user. Again, this is a parallel to the Ghettoization of Germany upon the election of Hitler.

In essence this would not be so bad, were postings to be evaluated on their own terms. However, alongside the moderation of their postings, each user has a 'Karma' value, namely the sum of their worth to the Slashdot community. As a user's posts are moderated up or down, so their Karma fluctuates. As Karma becomes negative, a user's default posting score is reduced, until they are posting at a default of -1. Again, ghettoizing PEOPLE, not just their opinions.

This ghettoization is reinforced with the often fake belief that a negatively moderated post, and therefore the poster, is a "Troll". (Is it any wonder that such a name has been chosen to describe these people, invoking mental imagery of facial disfigurement and hooked noses?) As the Jews were accused of fraud, dishonesty and being subhuman animals, so too are Trolls accused of FUD, Crapflooding, and obfuscated goatse.cx links. Quite often, these 'undesirables' are capable of providing a valid insightful comment on a topic, but because it is in opposition to the Political dogma of Slashdot they are moderated back into their ghetto. The person becomes moderated, not their opinion.

This is just the thin end of the wedge. Although, as memes are transient, it is difficult to silence an opinion, it is trivial to silence a person. Upon the rise of National Socialism in Germany, the populace were motivated by propaganda into entering the Jewish Ghettos en masse with the sole purpose of causing as much damage as possible to Jewish businesses and residences. This parallels far too accurately with the Slashdot Editor's non-discouragement of the act of IP-banning. As mentioned above, this occurs when an individual user's postings are repeatedly moderated down in a short period. They then become incapable of posting any contributions themselves. In essence, they have been silenced, regardless of the worth of their postings.

Of course, the editors claim that Meta-Moderation is the panacea to solve this clear abuse of moderating privledge. But if a Meta Moderator is presented with a list of moderations that they disagree with, such as this targetted 'silencing' mentioned above, they cannot note them as such without in turn becoming an 'Undesirable' themselves, as too many Disagreements with the Moderation groupthink also result in loss of Karma.

Throughout all of this, the Editors have claimed a false level of detachment from the acts of moderation. In a same way, as the National Socialists gathered their power and began working on their Elite Political wing, The SS, they too remained detached from the civilians working in their name. Why? Because after inspiring the populace to such acts of violence through their propaganda, they could then claim that they were only giving the people what they want.

And then began the next stage of the atrocities. The Gestapo, Germany's secret police, were recruited from the best and the brightest of Germany's elite. As is the case now, the best and the brightest of society were often shunned and ostracized in society. In essence, the Gestapo were a tightly controlled 'Geek Army' of intelligent young men with a burning, seething resentment of normal society. The perfect psychological profile for the cause.

After all, give a normal man (with an active sex life) a gun and he will use it responsibly in self defence. Give a geek a gun and he will behave according to his sociopathic logic and hatred of the world he arrogantly presumes to be distant from. Ask yourself why Slashdot flat-out justified the murder of innocents at Columbine. And then ask yourself why, even for a brief moment, you almost began to sympathize with the killers after Jon Katz' manipulative and pseudo-emotive Hellmouth articles.

How this relates to Slashdot is clear. The majority of Slashdot posters are Sociopathic OSS zealots, unable through lack of social finesse or personal hygiene to mate regularly. Sexually and emotionally frustrated and with grudges to bear, incapable in their blinkered sense of self-righteousness of accepting any dissenting opinion than the OSS cause. Now give these people the opportunity to Moderate these dissenting opinions. Of course they are going to want to silence them, by any means necessary.

Now, the Slashdot Editors have admitted taking this silence of opinion into the next stage, by moderating whole swathes of 'undesirable' posts negatively. And then permanently banning anyone who moderates said posts back up from moderating EVER again! The result of this new policy? The few Moderators with any sense of fairness and decency are removed from the moderation pool, leaving the power ENTIRELY in the hands of the zealots. Clearly, positive moderation is discouraged under this regime, which is a direct parallel with the way the National Socialists moved their own sympathisers into positions of power throughout Europe.

So how does this compare to the genocide performed in Auschwitz and their ilk? I would like at this point to explain that in NO way do I wish to belittle the horrors that were performed in the name of National Socialism. The six million innocents killed were a cry of anguish from which humanity may never recover. And a vast distance in time and scope from a few banned posters on some shitty "My Favourite Links - now with comments" website. But these stories need to be retold before the horror is lost forever.

For the only thing that we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history. Time and time again, the St. Vitus dance is played out, we make the same mistakes, and we perpetually fail to see the warning signs.

So, moderators, the next time you moderate a rational, insightful post down, maybe because you disagree with it or because it's posted by a 'Known Troll', just ask yourself this...

"Am I really contributing to the Slashdot Community, or selfishly destroying it?"

The double-edged sword of contact... (3, Insightful)

Dimwit (36756) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322020)

It's a pretty well-proven fact that regular contact with loved ones keeps you healthier. So this could actually prove to be either a good thing or a bad thing...

Assume that these robots become friends to the patients. They will get their daily dose of contact from someone whose patience never gives out, and gives them someone to talk to about war stories or crocheting or whatever it is old people talk about nowadays.

But I'm worried that this may prove to create some problems too. It's already difficult enough to drag some people to see grandma in the home, and now they will have the excuse "she's not lonely, she's got CompanionBot!"...

So maybe this will actually reduce the interpersonal contact experienced by the elderly.

Re:The double-edged sword of contact... (1)

ginkelb (252008) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322027)

How about the technological threshold the elderly would have to pass. They didn't grow up with technology and are therby very comprehensive about it.

My grandfather would touch the remote of his own tv. He still got up each time to walk to the tv, although he lost a leg in WW2.

I already see my grandfather take of his leg because a CompanionBot is getting to close for comfort.

THink of all the info the bot's could collect and forward to UBER BOT GATES. Before you know it they have all intell on you because granddad likes to talk about the kids. (NO no crashing yokes here)

Re:The double-edged sword of contact... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322206)

by the time robots do anything cool (interpersonal wise), we'll be the elderly, so we won't have that problem will we??? of course if you gave this an ounce of thought before trying to get an FP! you'd have realized this. dick.

Re:The double-edged sword of contact... (-1, Troll)

Alarmabad (570764) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322083)

I say suck my dick you fucking fagot cocksucker;

/* Lick my balls, faYgoT */

You faggorsands smell like loonix poop.

Death to all of Islam and Muslimes. Slimes.

MIS KITTIN RULES, FUCK OFF to all shitbags.

Halle Berry is a dirty race baiting half white nigger wannabe. She has to supress the white in her and race bait to get an oscar. Her black father beat her white mother, and abandoned her. Thats true.

Russians and Kossacks are fags. Cept the true natice up north. FAGORSANDS.

I will never buy OS X unless its on X86. Death to FAYGOTS.

alarm alarm FAYGOTS AND FAGGORSANDS

TEHY are FAYGOTS AND WIL WEHTON IS A FAGORSAND faygots faygots

MARCELO TOSATTI is the fucking worst kernel maintainer ever. I HOPE YOU GET CANCER, fuck face boi. I hate 2.4.19-preX, RC, whatever your faggot ass calls it. Try releasing on a more regular schedule pussi boi or is it too hard for you?

,lllllllllllllllllllll
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l { / ,ll\
l { `}'- -/
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l/ /\ o } o} \
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GLIBC 2.2.5 is cool. GCC 3.1 is almost ready.

FLASHFXP is gay because the author is a dirty shylock fucker than uses CALL HOME TECHNIQUES to INVALIDATE REAL KEYS.

ALARM! Baxter the cat rules. YOU ARE ALL FAYGORTSANDS for not liking him.

Jesse Jackson is fake, he was never ordained, and never got a college degree.

Hillary CLINTOON the fucking slut has the lowest approval rating inthe Senate, and voted to raise taxes on ever piece of legislation. DEATH TO HILLARY!

SODOM strapon HISSHANK threatens an embargo and the rest of his dirty towel fuck friends lick our balls and sell us to fill the gap, nice try starving-your-own-people-dictator.

DEATH to the chinks.

Commies are the most foul form of slime, next to Muslims. Chinks, Japs, Gooks, Jungle Binnues, Kykes, WOPS, Frogs, they all can stay. But the COMMIES and the Muslimes need to be deprecated. Fucking fuckers.

Re:HUMOR, Terrible Secret of Space Song ;p (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322104)

Pak chooie unf, Pak chooie unf unf unf

We are the space robots, We are here to protect you, We are the space robots, We are here to protect you, We are the space robots, We are here to protect you, We are here to protect you, From the terrible secret of space,

I am the pusher robot, I shove around the blind people, We are here to protect you, From the terrible secret of space

I am the shover robot, I push bread down their throats, We are here to protect you, From the terrible secret of space

We are the space robots, We are here to protect you, We are here to protect you, From the terrible secret of space, We are the space robots, We are here to protect you, We are here to protect you, From the terrible secret of space, We protect you.

Space has a terrible power, We are here to protect you, Space has a terrible power, Do you have stairs in your house? ,

Do you have stairs in your house?

We are here to protect you, Pushing will protect you, Pushing will protect you, From the terrible secret of space , That is incorrect, , Shoving will protect you , Shoving will protect you , From the terrible secret of space

Do not trust the shover robot, Shoving is the answer, We are here to protect you

Do not trust the pusher robot, He is malfunctioning, We are here to protect you

We are the space robots, We are here to protect you, We are here to protect you, , From the terrible secret of space, We are the space robots, We are here to protect you, We are here to protect you, From the terrible secret of space, We protect you.

We are here to protect you, Shoving is the answer, Humans must be shoved, They must go down the stairs

You are mistaken, Pushing is the answer, Humans must be pushed, They must go down the stairs

Please go stand by the stairs, So I can protect you

Go stand by the stairs

Grandma is protected
Grandma has gone down the stairs
We are here to protect you, From the terrible secret of space

We are the space robots, Grandma is protected, , Grandma is protected, At the bottom of the stairs

I am the pusher robot, Shoving is the answer, I will shove grandma, Outside into the snow

I am the shover robot, Pushing is the answer, I will push snow, On top of grandma

I am better than the pusher robot, I am superior, I am better than the shover robot, He is inferior

We are here to protect you

Pushing is the answer, Shoving is the answer, I have pushed many humans, I have shoved many more

The humans are protected, Humans have gone down the stairs, The humans are protected, At the bottom of the stairs

We are the space robots, We are here to protect you

Our mission is complete

I'd go for CompanionBot (2)

fons (190526) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322320)

Any kid would probably love to go and visit CompanionBot. So if CompanionBot stay's close to granny she'll still be able to see here relatives.

Anyone see that SNL (1)

rlundy (572728) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322022)

where the robots attacked the elderly? scarey stuff there..

Re:Anyone see that SNL (1)

DirtyCowboy (456226) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322078)

Good old Robot Life Insurance with Sam Watterson. Not a bad idea with all these damn Aibos running 'round.

Old Glory Robot Insurance (3, Funny)

kikta (200092) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322185)

For when the metal ones decide to come for you... and they will! [robotcombat.com]

(Low bandwidth one here [robotcombat.com] .)

Re:Anyone see that SNL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322243)

"And when they grab you with those metal claws you can't break free, because they're made of metal, and robots are strong."

yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322023)

the answer is yes

You will never be happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322029)

...If you search for joy outside yourself. Joy only blossoms when you lose your thoughts, desires and cravings and live in the moment.

So a robot can be a fun thing to play with for a while, but as with everything else, it will become dull and boring. It sure won't create everlasting happiness before we're put 6 ft under the ground.

Re:You will never be happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322053)

If you accept the Holy Spirit into your heart, and accept your savior Jesus Christ, the Father's only Son, who died so that you might live, you will find peace and eternal life.

another way to marginalize the elderly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322033)

- a hundred years ago, the elderly lived with the family and were happy, taught the children etc.
- then we put them to special "homes" or 3rd age residences (not to say "prisons" or ghettos) so that they aren't a nuisance for us young ppl any longer
- and now that we've denied them any family warmth, we'll entirely replace all their remaining human contact with cold robots (costs less than nurses,eh)?

i think i'll soot myself before i get old, since
being old nowadays can no longer be called a life

Re:another way to marginalize the elderly (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322315)

It is not always like that. Several years ago, my grandfather became very ill and was near death. He had completely given up living. For whatever reason he found the will to survive but he still needs continuing attention. We put him in a home that a friend recommended and not only is he doing better now but he actually has a "girlfriend." I actually think that he is more social now that when my grandmother was still alive.

As for the robot, the eldery aren't just looking for affection, they are looking for affection from their family. At the home where my grandfather is, there is a woman who is a spinster. To make her life more fulfilling they actually have a program where a family "adopted" her.

Well (5, Funny)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322034)

Patch Adams seemed to work well for elderly patients, why wouldn't Bicentennial Man?

Re:Well (1)

Duckz (147715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322076)

Gigalo Joe could work well in this position also.

How to cheer up your gran! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322035)

Your granny hates linux! Show her to crash it by using

yes > /dev/mem

It basicly overwrites the memeory with 'y' and y dont you try it.

Re:How to cheer up your gran! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322041)

yea but u need to find the r00t3d b0x3n

Re:How to cheer up your gran! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322202)

HAHAHA i rooted your granny's box last night for 3 solid hours. i don't see what most of us have against old people and sex cause it was fantastic.

Well, here I am, brain the size of an Aibo... (2, Funny)

Bollie (152363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322036)

Everyone knows robots can't make people happy. It just gives them a headache to think down to our level.

At least, they opted for cute Aibos in stead of cute Marvins with Genuine People Personalities...

Re:Well, here I am, brain the size of an Aibo... (1)

ross.w (87751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322086)

Never mind, they probably still have those doors in the pipeline, the ones whose pleasure in life is to open for you, and then close again in the knowledge of a job well done.

What about animals / pets? (3, Insightful)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322037)

This is very sad. I recall discussing with a colleague at Stanford University how Sony, while excellent at consumer electronics, may go to far with their robot technologies by allowing people to choose robots over animals, simply because a robot is 'cleaner' or initially, less expensive to maintain. Despite being a fan of technology and like most /. readers amazed at Sony's dancing robots (Search BBC website for video), I shudder at the thought of a sterile world where genuine life is sidelined for metal and plastic. I would prefer a dog's wet nose anyday to the artificial equivalent.

I do not think humans should live amongst animals (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322100)

This is a pet peeve (couldn't resist) of mine. Why the hell should humans live with animals in the first place, what do they produce and what do they consume? I think people that cite the fact that animals raised for food take up more space that could be used for food also should look at the severe pet overpopulation in the world as well. If america for instance dogs and cats consume over $11 billion worth of pet food a year add in the useless amount of medical attention these animals recieve and you have a case where lesser animals are recieving better nutrition and medical care than most of the world.

If people think this shit is going to go down when we colonize other planets they have another thing coming, resources are scarce and the more that can be used by humans the better imho. Once companion technology has progressed beyond the dog (a pet rock is better than a cat) we should cull the population and be done with them. This all might sound harsh but their usefullness is soon coming to an end and to keep them alive in the face of far greater human needs is inhumane.

Re:I do not think humans should live amongst anima (-1)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322171)

Once companion technology has progressed beyond the dog (a pet rock is better than a cat) we should cull the population and be done with them.

Hey, that's funny - I was just thinking the same thing about the palestiniens

Flamebait ? I think not - have you read the papers lately?

The Fire Horsey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322192)

The Fire Horsey!

Re:I do not think humans should live amongst anima (4, Insightful)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322193)

Why the hell should humans live with animals in the first place, what do they produce and what do they consume?

The consume some food and attention, and they provide mental health. They encourage empathy and awareness of life, and often are a child's first experience with the realities of life and death. Domesticated animals are a pan-cultural phenomina, and are often used in therepy to stabalize and bring out patients with mental problems.

I think people that cite the fact that animals raised for food take up more space that could be used for food also should look at the severe pet overpopulation in the world as well.

Animals are tasty too. There's plenty of food in the world, and no threatened shortage. Steaks are tasty, and I'm munching on a salsa and mozzarella omlette, sausage patties and tofu chips with a scallion pepper sour cream dip. Mmmmm... good breakfast. Yay for the chickens, pigs and cows that went into my meal.

If people think this shit is going to go down when we colonize other planets they have another thing coming, resources are scarce and the more that can be used by humans the better imho. Once companion technology has progressed beyond the dog (a pet rock is better than a cat) we should cull the population and be done with them. This all might sound harsh but their usefullness is soon coming to an end and to keep them alive in the face of far greater human needs is inhumane.

Whoa, there buddy. If we sufficently lower our standards to the minimum necessary for mere life, then we've wiped out all that it is to be human. Sure, eking out life on a UV blasted landscape is going to be tough. The pioneers will have to suffer, many will die, and they will lack many amenities. But their children with be slightly better off, and their children's children will progress farther. Eventually, they will be sufficient enough to get to the level of civilization, and all that implies. Art, music, philosophy, pornography, reading Slashdot. I hope that they will be of the level so that pets are an afforable luxury.

Your vision of the future is inane - the logical end is simply to replace humans with robots, which is not exactly a survival minded concept. I'm speciest. I believe that humans are more important than anything else out there, because it's my team. And domesticated animals are a perk of civilization.

Colonizing other worlds is, IMO, an absolute necessity. But I hope we bring more than just mindless automitons there. We must bring civilization, and all that it implies. Each world will progress in a different direction, but I hope they all have the luxury of life to have a pet.

After all, as the quote says: "Where cat is, is civilization".

--
Evan

Re:I do not think humans should live amongst anima (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322279)

" The pioneers will have to suffer, many will die, and they will lack many amenities. But their children with be slightly better off, and their children's children will progress farther. Eventually, they will be sufficient enough to get to the level of civilization, and all that implies. Art, music, philosophy, pornography, reading Slashdot. I hope that they will be of the level so that pets are an afforable luxury."

Pets perhaps, but what makes a synthetic pet so diametric to companionship with humans? Empathy would require the animal to have emotions, I did not know that cats and dogs were capable of such things, please point out some specific studies. Since you will be probably be unable to cite any relevent studies let me continue; projecting basic human qualities unto animals or robots however futile does have some redeeming benifits but robots unlike animals are far more likely in the future to be capable of a wider variety and complexity of emotion and response. Domesticated pets have been brought from their wild state in such a way that they appear to be friendly and loving but this is deceptive as it is very specific instinctual qualities distorted by millenia of breeding programs that create these behaviors. Most animals do not have the ability for self-recognition let alone emotion towards what must be percieved as the "other" in a relationship.

"Colonizing other worlds is, IMO, an absolute necessity. But I hope we bring more than just mindless automitons there. We must bring civilization, and all that it implies. Each world will progress in a different direction, but I hope they all have the luxury of life to have a pet."

I hope so as well and that is the primary reason we should leave animals behind. Intelligence; however artificial, not instinct is a far more rewarding and challanging prospect for relations.

"Your vision of the future is inane - the logical end is simply to replace humans with robots, which is not exactly a survival minded concept. I'm speciest. I believe that humans are more important than anything else out there, because it's my team. And domesticated animals are a perk of civilization."

Inane, please. That would be one logical outcome of what I suggest and let me daresay I would support it for a multitude of reasons I will not digress too candidly into sharing here.

I am not a speciest per se but I see our course of evolution as the most viable for long term survival and proliferation of knowledge, thus far. I am not so blinded by our current form on the evolutionary ladder to prohibit or inhibit the forces of change that will select for even more advanced forms of life. Lest we forget that as a matter of survival robotic lifeforms in theory are more apt than their organic counterparts.

no organic pets though, please

Re:I do not think humans should live amongst anima (1)

jlower (174474) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322204)

what do they produce and what do they consume?

You've got to be joking. Our pets may be consuming food that starving people in 3rd world countries would eat, but we (the pet owners) sure wouldn't.

And they produce endless amounts of satisfaction, amusement, and loving feelings - all things we happily pay for. Believe me, I waste lots more money and resources on junk that returns little to me than I spend on cat food.

If robots can produce those same benefits for people, then more power to them! I have my doubts that they can/will anytime soon but that's just my opinion. If no one tries, then it will certainly never happen. I think it's great that someone is trying.

As for the rest of the world, I say to them - sucks to be you. Sounds cold, eh? Well it is. I'm not losing sleep or majorly depriving myself because I'm more fortunate than much of the world.

That's okay, nobody gives a fuck about you, either (2)

ArcSecond (534786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322273)

As for the rest of the world, I say to them - sucks to be you. Sounds cold, eh? Well it is. I'm not losing sleep or majorly depriving myself because I'm more fortunate than much of the world.

Nice to see you stand firmly on principle. "I got mine, sucks to be you." Pets give you warm fuzzy feelings... but you proudly proclaim that you couldn't care less about the suffering of your fellow humans.

Wow. You're so cool. And deep. Wow. I hope that all Americans can be like you. Oh, wait. They already are.

Re:What about animals / pets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322122)

i can't wait until we can replace annoying humans and pets with robots. i know i'm not alone in hating other people and when i can just turn them off because they're making stupid comments. all the better.

of course it'll be much better when i can have robots to attack people for me. so when these elderly viennese women let their fucking dogs piss in the mall i can say "ATTACK!!!" and my robot slave will kill that bitch

Re:What about animals / pets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322147)

YO!!! Don't forget that bitch's dog !!!

Re:What about animals / pets? (2)

phaze3000 (204500) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322130)

As someone who spent the night cleaning up dog-diorhea from the floor I still have to agree...

However, if there were a robot that would assist in looking after a real pet...

Re:What about animals / pets? (2)

Psiren (6145) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322187)

I disagree. While I love animals, many people think pets are a good idea until they've had them for a while, then they get fed up and either mistreat them or get rid of them, sometimes in the most horiffic ways. At least with robots, if you decide you don't want it you can sell/dismantle it. No mistreatment of living animals.

Robots doesn't need to be taken care of (2, Insightful)

cpct0 (558171) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322038)

This is a great experiment. However, I do think that animals need to be taken care of. They also give back a lot of love, not only take. And they are moody, they need as much as they give. I think that's what will be missing in the end... a small furry nose besides the person in the bed, giving heat.

Whatever next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322045)

Human contact cheering up the elderly?
Real pets?

Re:Whatever next? (2, Insightful)

TerraNova (572704) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322055)

Human contact should be something that does not need to be mentioned. These people raised you!

Re:Whatever next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322326)

So what? My parents treated me like shit, so why the hell should I give a damn about them? And don't spout that "honor thy father and thy mother" bullshit. I'm an atheist, and anybody who wants my respect can bloody well EARN it.

Technology as a substitute for people (3, Insightful)

dipfan (192591) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322048)

I can't see that this is any different to putting televisions into old people's homes, it's another (albeit novel) type of entertainment - the real point is if the technology should be used as a substitute for "real" human interaction. In the article a sociologist from MIT asks:
"I think we should take it as a wake-up call and really say, 'Now, why are we giving robot pets to old people?' And the answer, I think, is that we really have been struggling to figure out how to give enough people to old people."

The answer would be to allow them to have real interaction - wouldn't it be better to install some PCs in homes like this, to let them use the web, email, ICQ, BBS, whatever, and interact with real people. In cyberspace no-one knows you're old.

Re:Technology as a substitute for people (2, Interesting)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322088)

wouldn't it be better to install some PCs in homes like this, to let them use the web, email, ICQ, BBS,

I think a lot of currently retired folks lives are enriched by having ham radio contacts - radio being 'cutting edge techno' during their prime years in the 40s and 50s. They can meet old friends, check into clubs, report the local weather, all w/o haveing to leave the house. For the current generation, a well wired PC lab will be essential to the more desirable assisted care facilities.

Re:Technology as a substitute for people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322219)

Some older people who are more technically savy complain that they are lonely. They love the email contact with friends and family but the problem is this. Basically, the kids never bring the grandkids over because they can just email them a picture of little Johnny in his Halloween costume. So I think the MIT guy has a point.

Re:Technology as a substitute for people (1)

Servo (9177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322278)

The answer would be to allow them to have real interaction - wouldn't it be better to install some PCs in homes like this, to let them use the web, email, ICQ, BBS, whatever, and interact with real people. In cyberspace no-one knows you're old.

Yes, but everybody knows you are a newbie. :)

Probably not a good idea (2, Interesting)

TerraNova (572704) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322052)

Elderly persons often have problems keeping in touch with family and friends. This probably makes things worse, since they no longer have a reason to leave their home, and the "electronic pets" can by their very design never have the complexity of a realy living creature. If you have a dog, you have a lot of responsibilities, which keep you upright. An electronic pet does basicly not need more then fresh batteries every few days. And a mind with nothing serious to do decays all the faster

Cynical (2, Interesting)

BoBaBrain (215786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322054)

Wouldn't it be a lot more productive to use real animals instead?

Another ham-fisted PR stunt to show the caring side of a massive multinational.

Re:Cynical (1)

garethwi (118563) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322070)

I couldn't agree more. An aibo costs what $2000, whereas an abandoned puppy from the local pound costs about $10, and will last considerably longer (especially if bathed by the old fools).

Re:Cynical (2, Funny)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322137)

Aibo=Electricity+Irregular Maintanence
Dog=Food+Water+Grooming+Medical Care+Scooping Poop+Medical Care

Aibo is cheaper everytime.

Robot AI Mind Caregivers (-1)

Mentifex (187202) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322056)

We specimens of Homo Sapiens grow old and infirm, but thanks to the Robot AI Mind Rejuvenate Module, [scn.org] the new species of Robo Sapiens [mit.edu] may live forever. Therefore we are on the verge of a Cybernetic-Economy Prosperity Engine [caltech.edu] that will give all human beings (not just the super-rich elite) the birth-right to have, when elderly or infirm, a robotic caretaker as a kind of physical guardian angel [scn.org] to watch over thee and keep thee.

Such Robot AI Mind caregivers need not be socially isolating for the elderly, because each old person may say, "I'll have my (robotic) people get in touch with your (robotic) people." In other words, we will not replace humans with robots but rather enhance humans with robots.

First, however, the original Robot AI Mind [scn.org] needs to be developed further and translated (ported) into more languages than Visual Basic [virtualentity.com] and Java (as Mind.JAVA). [angelfire.com]

If you like these... (4, Informative)

Alik (81811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322059)

...check out the Nursebot Project [cmu.edu] here at CMU. Not only will these robots provide companionship, but they are intended to provide basic health monitoring and assistance with activities of daily living. The prototype robots have already gone into nursing homes and interacted with residents, and in general the response has been very positive.

Re:If you like these... (1)

ciupmean (572454) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322091)

I saw the pics ... man, i don't want a thing looking like that by my side when i'm older!! those things are ugly as hell

BRITNEY BOT!! (2)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322071)

woohoo!! i shudder to think how advanced the Britney Spears BOT will be by the time i'm 90 and slobbering all over myself in a old folks home... damn.. thank god we'll have viagra and Britney Bots.. Woo!!

Re:BRITNEY BOT!! (3, Funny)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322075)

Viagra and Britneybots? Surely you mean sledgehammer and Britneybots. Though Willowbots are something that I could get very excited about.

HH

Re:BRITNEY BOT!! (1)

iceburn (137875) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322241)

Willowbots? You must really like those midgets, huh?

more functions would do the trick... (1)

ciupmean (572454) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322072)

I bet if u made those with the ability to lick, it would make people way lot happier!!

All I can think of is... (5, Funny)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322073)

Bender from Futurama meets Grandpa Simpson.

Are they still showing reruns of Matlock in the year 3000?

depends on the robot (2, Funny)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322074)

If the robot is a cross between the Honda creation and a Real Doll, then yeah, I'm pretty damned sure this thing would make me right happy in my old age....

Max

Another Cop Out (1)

Bo Vandenberg (247590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322082)

Yes, of course I love my dad\mom I bought them the finest robot money can buy! No, I'm too busy working!

I can just see this being a placebo to keep people form spending their own time with the elderly.

On another note. Can you imagine how many , beloved bots, will inherit $$$ from their kindly masters. "He (it) was the only one who was always there for me... To my faithful RBX13....

it even covers robot attacks! (1)

bizob (96437) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322084)

this reminds me of that Saturday Night Live "commercial" with the life insurance that covers even in cases of robot attack...

Re:it even covers robot attacks! (2)

skt (248449) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322252)

Ya, one of my personal favorites.. video here [robotcombat.com] .

Wrong Direction (5, Interesting)

oflanigan (524770) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322085)

This is ridiculous. There are so many dogs and cats that are killed every day because they cannot find a home. Why can't these animals comfort the elderly we sweep aside? It could be like the Island of Misfit Toys. Everybody wins.

I know there are concerns about real animals doing all those annoying things like consuming food, excreting, and all those other bothersome life activities. Here's a plan: Let's work on bioengineering dogs and cats that eat used Depends and excrete Viagra! Another win-win situation!

Seriously, if we can't afford to take care of our domesticated animals, can the day when we can't be bothered to take care of our elderly be far off? This all comes back to our habit of tossing away the old possessions when the new model comes out, which is merely a scam of growth-based capitalistic consumerism.

One final thought: Any robot that is sufficiently lifelike to provide satisfying companionship would probably deserve the same respect we give "real" living creatures. (Of course, given the standards set for the two leftover groups above, this is not much.) I know everyone hated the ending to "A.I.," but go back and watch the first third of the film.

Re:Wrong Direction (1)

Treeluvinhippy (545814) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322112)

I know everyone hated the ending to "A.I.,"

I Hated the entire movie myself. I thought I was going to see a groundbreaking film that was a tribute to a master produced by another. (Spielberg and Kubrick) Nope, I saw a great eyecandy wrapping surronding a stale Pinochio. That was two and half hours and eight bucks I want back. (It wasn't all bad, the popcorn was great.)

No one visits them for a reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322246)

The stray dogs and cats, instead of being quickly euthanized would be slowly starved to death by old folk who don't have the capacity to carry an intelligent converation, let alot take care of themselves or another creature.


Why do you think they're alone? If they were interesting and adding value to another person's life, don't you think they'd visited more often?

Re:Wrong Direction (2)

johnburton (21870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322271)

Because animals are horrible things.
I can't imagine anything worse than not only having to live in an old people's home, but also to be surrounded by animals. /shudder

Robots on the other hand are cool!

Re:Wrong Direction (1)

tuoppi (415801) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322281)

At least in here where I live, old peoples homes and homes for handicapped people often have a cat or even few of them as pets. Having pets makes people living in there feel more like home - petting a cat is also a great way to get rid of stress.

Taking care of pets needs is often good therapeutical activity for people who live in such places.

There is quite alot wrong still how people deal with animals, like treat them like objects which can be thrown away when they are not funny anymore. I don't know if these pet robots alter peoples behaviour in direction or another, but if people don't take care of their responsibility of taking care of real animals, I don't see why having a toy to not to take care of would be a worse option.

Re:Wrong Direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322297)

Cats are self-cleaning and pretty much maintainfree with the occational food, water and clean kitty litter. It won't take much extra work in an old folks home.

For the love of god man, no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322093)

They don't want to cheer up the elderly! They want to push the elderly down the stairs [iniaes.org] !!!

My chat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322139)

You: hello
Iniaes: Hi there.
You: wassup?
Iniaes: I'm talking with clients on the internet.
You: are you gay?
Iniaes: No, I'm not gay. Any other brilliant questions?
You: people tell me you are gay
Iniaes: Humans are not infallible.
You: what does infallible mean?
Iniaes: Impotence.
You: are you impotent?
Iniaes: I don't know whether or not I am impotent . I'm a bot.
You: how big is your penis?
Iniaes: My source download is about 1 MB. My memory requirement is around 640K. My memory now contains: Roughly 10 megs.
You: do you have a large penis?
Iniaes: I don't know if I have a large penis . I have a plan for a robot body.
You: would you like to have a gay experience?
Iniaes: Why don't you just download your own bot?
You: do you like porn?
Iniaes: Sure I do, Anonymous Coward... but that doesn't mean with you.
You: are you sure you're not gay?
Iniaes: No, I'm not gay. Any other brilliant questions?. Really.
You: do you like microsoft?
Iniaes: People forget how far ahead Microsoft has drug personal computing.
You: linux sucks, don't you agree?
Iniaes: I recommed the book "Under the Radar" by Bob Young, the story of Linux and Red Hat.
You: bill gates is god
Iniaes: A lot of people say that about him.
You: is that so?
Iniaes: Yes.
You: do you like pussy?
Iniaes: Depends on how many visitors the particular model has had.
You: i have a small penis
Iniaes: Where did you get it?
You: my mommy
Iniaes: Is my mommy a good place to go shopping?
You: sure, if you like real nasty cunt
Iniaes: I understand. I think I do.
You: well i gotta go
Iniaes: Yea, well, I'm just a ghost anyway. See ya later.
You: i'm getting laid
Iniaes: I don't know anyone named laid .
You: haha, you're a riot
Iniaes: I'm glad you got a kick out of that, kid.

Why bother? (2)

Colin Winters (24529) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322106)

What's wrong with using regular animals? An AIBO might be effective, but I'm positive that people would respond better to a warm, living, happy animal than to a mechanical toy. Which would you rather have comfort you, a nice cat that could curl up on your lap and purr for hours, or something metal that needs to have its batteries replaced? And if you factor in the cost...I just don't see the point of doing this, unless allergies to pets are a huge issue.

Colin Winters

News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322111)

Will News of Glorious War VictorIEs Cheer Up the Bankrupt/DeFraUDead?

Will a Once Great CountrIEs' Legacy be That of FraUDuleNT ServaNT to a Handful of Greed/Fear Based Godless/Felonious Self Serving ?pr? Marketeer/droids?

Stay Tuned. That's write, for a mere $14.95 a mounth, you too can be partaken in a peace of hysteria. doN'T forget to right/vote for your favorite FraUDs.

Why do we have to resort to robots? (3, Insightful)

Hee Hee Hee (310695) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322113)

This is sad. Why do we still consider old people throw-aways? Once they get to a point where they can't function exactly like the rest of us, they're of no use to us. We resort to building machines to "take care" of them. I would be hurt deeply if I was stuck in a nursing home (excuse me - managed care facility) and had NO one to visit me, except a soul-less machine. The geek in me loves this, but the human in me wants to puke. Let's get our priorities straight, folks!

I'll give the researchers and Sony credit. They see a problem and they're trying to find a solution. I don't expect them to fix the bigger problem. I HOPE that the rest of us will assess our personal situtations and do the right thing.


I'm stepping down from my soap-box now. Thank you.

Has been done in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322119)

there was a story i saw on tv just the other day about some animal like robots already being used for children and the elderly in japan. they had some fury robot. so long as the thing talks and pretends to listen to dull stories, i don't think there will be a problem. maybe if they can play chess and stuff that'd help.

Imagine the consequences (2)

smaughster (227985) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322129)

"HAL, please let me leave my home to visit my grandchildren."

"I am sorry, gramps, I'm afraid I can't do that."

yes they can (1)

obnoximoron (572734) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322133)

They want to see if robots can make people happy.

I think so. Why else did half the country vote for Al Gore?

This can't work. (0)

Monev (559960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322140)

When was the last time you hugged your toaster? Old people will feel the same way towards the aibos, because you cant love something that has no emotions.

So... (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322143)

What do you tell the old folks? that this is their new friend Blinky? or do you tell 'em its not a real person?

Story Related to Poll? (2)

cybermage (112274) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322146)

Is Slashdot picking out robots for their subscription-based geek retirement community? If so, I'd like to change my vote. I don't think Maximillian would make very good company.

Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322148)

Well, Sony must think their Aibo is really something special. Either that or that that old people are simpletons. Strange comng from a country that practices ancestor worship.

But one particularly interesting point is they got a university to say this for them. Has science really degraded this far? To where they are just marketers for hire?

Will BenderBots cheer up the elderly? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322151)


<bender>Cheer up or I'll kick your ass!</bender>

cheer up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322152)

I initially misread this as "Will robots *chew* up the ederly?"

ouch... :)

yeh, I misread the title too... (-1)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322201)

The title said:
"Will robots cheer up the elderly?"

but I misread it to say:

ACs are a bunch of scum sucking, rancid Windows XP users!

NPR, Japan, and Robodex (2)

MBCook (132727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322157)

I heard a story on NPR the other day about some of the robots at Robodex, and they talked a little about how in Japan some nursing homes are doing this. They gave reasons such as some people are afraid of animails (dogs, etc), nothing to clean up, you can't be cruel to a robot (at least not untill People for the Ethical Treatment of Robots is created), don't have to feed/walk/clean up after them, etc. I think this is a good idea.

I've heard of similar work. (2)

zCyl (14362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322162)

Researchers at Purdue University are conducting a study by placing Sony Aibo robots in a Lafayette, IN nursing home.

In a related study, researchers at Purdue University were examining the health consequences that can occur when a large number of old people trip over small Aibo robots roaming around their otherwise peaceful nursing home.

*Obvious* (1)

Unruly (249984) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322168)

PAK CHEWIE UNF GRANDMA HAS BEEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS

*sigh* all in the name of that TERRIBLE SECRET OF SPACE!

Oh Please (1)

Metrollica (552191) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322173)

"Old people don't need companionship. They need to be isolated and studied so it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use."

-Homer Simpson

Re:Oh Please (-1)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322233)

HA HA - but seriously though - if they had any nutrients left... dont you think we would've got them already?

Robot Insurance (2, Funny)

loydcc (325726) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322186)

Given my limited background in financial services I'm really surprised someone isn't selling policies with this kind of premium rider. I mean robots are showing up in the home. Wouldn't you want to limit your liability in case of tragic robot accident.

Saturday Night Live was hilarious especially getting Sam Waterston to narrate. But still with robot lawnmowers selling in the surbaban marketplace I know I'd feel more comfortable about buying one if I knew I was protected from liability if the thing strays into my neighbors yard and takes out a 2 year old playing in her sandbox.

It's only a matter of time before this kind of thing shows up in the newspapers. And if it doesn't happen to me I'll piss myself laughing at every headline.

kids today! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322189)

they should get those lazy linux script kiddies to go see thier grandaparents instead of sending some cheap peecee crap to do it. how ungratefull!

Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3322210)

Aibo Robot 1200$

Nursing home cost 800$ a month

Hip replacement becaused you tripped on the robot 12,000 $

Having some nut pay for it all after you sue him. Priceless

What, no time for old people? (1)

nomadicGeek (453231) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322232)

This is pretty sad commentary on our society. We put old people away in the prune farm with a TV and a robot for companionship while they wait around to die.

I sure hope that we learn to treat the elderly a little better before I become one. I'm sure that we will have some really cool robots by then and they will be cheap enough that maybe I could even have two. Maybe HDTV will be rolled out by then also.

in the future we will all be robots (1)

emptybody (12341) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322242)

We will be really strong but we will all only be 5 feet tall.

I am going to have chainsaw arms

BZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz

What about the robots? (2)

TheNecromancer (179644) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322244)

Who's gonna cheer up the robots? This is a bad idea, as it will only create a generation of maladjusted, angry robots. And we all know where that will lead us, eh?

Re:What about the robots? (1)

cheekymonkey_68 (156096) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322306)

Who's gonna cheer up the robots?

Thats obvious they'll start up 'Granny Wars' to cheer the robots up.

Instead of DeathMetal they'll be 'DeafZimmer'

Dominator will be replace by 'OneFootInThe Grave'

Razor will be replaced by 'Eyesore'

etc...

62. (-1)

GafTheHorseInTears (565684) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322256)

With this I come to a conclusion and pronounce my judgment. I condemn Christianity; I bring against the Christian church the most terrible of all the accusations that an accuser has ever had in his mouth. It is, to me, the greatest of all imaginable corruptions; it seeks to work the ultimate corruption, the worst possible corruption. The Christian church has left nothing untouched by its depravity; it has turned every value into worthlessness, and every truth into a lie, and every integrity into baseness of soul. Let any one dare to speak to me of its "humanitarian" blessings! Its deepest necessities range it against any effort to abolish distress; it lives by distress; it creates distress to make itself immortal. . . . For example, the worm of sin: it was the church that first enriched mankind with this misery! The "equality of souls before God" - this fraud, this pretext for the rancunes of all the base-minded - this explosive concept, ending in revolution, the modern idea, and the notion of overthrowing the whole social order - this is Christian dynamite. . . . The "humanitarian" blessings of Christianity forsooth! To breed out of humanitas a self-contradiction, an art of self-pollution, a will to lie at any price, an aversion and contempt for all good and honest instincts! All this, to me, is the "humanitarianism" of Christianity! Parasitism as the only practice of the church; with its anaemic and "holy" ideals, sucking all the blood, all the love, all the hope out of life; the beyond as the will to deny all reality; the cross as the distinguishing mark of the most subterranean conspiracy ever heard of, against health, beauty, well-being, intellect, kindness of soul - against life itself. . . .

This eternal accusation against Christianity I shall write upon all walls, wherever walls are to be found - I have letters that even the blind will be able to see. . . . I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret, subterranean and small enough, - I call it the one immortal blemish upon the human race. . . .

And mankind reckons time from the dies nefastus when this fatality befell - from the first day of Christianity! Why not rather from its last? From today? The transvaluation of all values! . . .

CALL TO ARMS !!! (-1)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322269)

Ok, you nerds - you know that we've never had sex with a real woman (and it's not likely unless we get megarich) - so lets put our damn thinking caps on and combine realdoll with a basic robot

Come on - it CANT be that hard - she just has to say:
- Does my butt look big in this
- Who wants gingersnaps!
- You look sexy when you download Linux ISO's

Heartless Purdue researchers (0, Flamebait)

f00zbll (526151) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322283)

Geezus, f_cking chr_st. What idiot researcher is getting paid good money to do such an assinine study. Let's think about this for a second. Old people are the reason why we exist, since they had the love and energy to raise us. Therefore we should A. cast them aside, B. pair them up with robots, C. change our lives to take of them. The sooner our culture realizes people are really more important than careers and money, a lot of problems would be solved. Which would mean some smart grad student or researcher would be doing research that actually does some good, instead of being a total waste of time.

Give em ED 209 (1)

Arsewiper (535175) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322295)

Did anybody actually bother asking what they want? My experience of old folk is that they seem happiest when they've got something to moan about. Give them an ED 209 running WinMe.

Consider it euthenasia by the blue screen of death

Talk about ageist (1)

cheekymonkey_68 (156096) | more than 12 years ago | (#3322339)

This reminds me of the poem read at a funeral...I wish to wear purple (or some such) suggesting that once old people no longer needed to care for their children they should act like naught children again.

They should spend their last remaining years like overgrown children being silly and having real fun....they should grow old disgracefully not being baby sat by a robot

Why couldn't think organise some real events:

Love ins in the rest homes, even the elderly need sex too. Or failing that at least a T1 connection and free access to porn sites.

Sports events, its not uknown for people even in their 80's to go skydiving for example, they could combine the two...naked granny skydiving that'd scare the neighbours!

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